How to Build a Steam Miniature Turbine Generator

Written by ehow hobbies, games & toys editor
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For those of you who wished you could have been James Watt and had invented the steam engine, here is a project that might make you smile. Build yourself a steam miniature turbine generator, and power a light bulb. The machining will take some time, but the end result is worth it.

Skill level:


    The Shaft

  1. 1

    Rough in the major diameters you choose from "rough round stock" to make the shaft for the steam miniature turbine generator.

  2. 2

    Finish cut the round stock so you can finalize the diameter of the shaft to your specifications.

  3. 3

    Cut in some threads.

    The Housing

  1. 1

    Use 2½-inch round stock to create the housing. Bore a 2¼-inch hole to allow room for the fan of the steam miniature turbine generator that will drive the shaft. Inside the shaft will be the clutch assembly that propels the electric motor (gear driven).

  2. 2

    Drill air passages in the housing, as well as threaded holes to accommodate the stand.

  3. 3

    Create two more holes in the housing that are large enough to screw in #10-32 "socket flathead screws." Use the screws to secure the housing and the stand.

  4. 4

    Add two more holes to the housing's side.

    The Stand

  1. 1

    Make the stand from a piece of angled aluminum that will have two holes in the back to accommodate screws and two angled legs with a hole piecing each leg.

  2. 2

    Face the aluminum until the thickness is about .005 inch of 0.250 inch.

  3. 3

    Cut in a slot that is 1.370 inches wide.


  1. 1

    Insert the shaft into the housing so that the shaft extends out the bottom of the housing.

  2. 2

    Slip in two bearings that are 17x7mm.

  3. 3

    Slide the fan onto the shat and bolt it in place.

  4. 4

    Put the flywheel onto the back of the shaft, outside the housing, and use a m7x1.0 bolt to secure it.

  5. 5

    Add clutch shoes behind the flywheel, as well as a clutch bell, and secure them in place with an E ring.

  6. 6

    Bolt the steam miniature turbine generator onto a stand and connect it to a small electric motor.

  7. 7

    Wire a small bulb to the motor, so that the steam miniature turbine generator can power it.

  8. 8

    Attach two ends of an air hose to the two holes on wither side of the housing. Tap one end of another air hose into the first hose, then attach the other end of the hose to the air source. If you are not able to light the bulb by passing air through the tubes, increase the flow of air by using something more powerful, like the air tanks used to power tools.

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